Google Now is a service that automatically notifies you of relevant information based on your location, the time of day, or other cues. For instance, your phone can bring up a traffic report when you’re on the way to work, a weather forecast when you’re traveling, or sports schedules and scores before or after the next game.
So far Google Now has only been available on Android devices, but there’s evidence that it’s coming to the Chrome web browser (and Chrome OS computers). Now it looks like Google is paving the way by including support for rich notifications in the latest pre-release builds of the browser.
Developer François Beaufort noticed that the latest build of Chromium (the open source version of Chrome) has a flag that lets you “enable rich notifications.” All you have to do is type chrome://flags into the location bar and then switch the toggle for rich notifications.
Some Chrome web apps such as Google Calendar already support notifications — as long as the app is open, notifications will appear in a small box when an appointment is coming up, for instance.
The new rich notifications option could make it possible for far more apps to support notifications — and Beaufort imagines the update is also an important step toward adding Google Now functionality to Chrome.
In the future your Chrome web browser could show pop-up notifications for appointments, weather forecasts, package deliveries, birthdays, and other important information based on your search history, location, time, and other cues.
While this could be useful if you leave the Chrome web browser open for most of the workday on your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer, it could be even more powerful on a Chromebook since a Chrome OS laptop would be able to show notifications 100% of the time that the device is turned on.